Thanksgiving Trip Recap – fANNEtastic food

Hello, hello! Matt, Riese, Wes, and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday out at the Salamander Hotel in Middleburg, VA. Riese’s 5th (!!) birthday was on Thanksgiving day, and we were lucky to have both sets of grandparents join us for the celebrations!

One of the best things about this hotel is the wide open spaces – lots of room to romp, which is good as this guy does NOT stop moving! 

Here are some of the highlights from our trip.

Thanksgiving at the Salamander Hotel in Middleburg

Time with Family

The biggest highlight was getting to spend time with family! It was great to have both sets of grandparents with us for the adventure, especially since Riese’s birthday was in the mix. She was SO excited for the whole trip, it was really cute. 

One of the big highlights for her was she got to ride a pony again! (She rode one when we came to the Salamander for the first time back in April for a few nights over her spring break.)

The horses were a huge hit – the stables are a short walk from the main hotel, so we visited them a couple times during our stay.

Thanksgiving Morning Turkey Trot 5k 

Matt’s parents watched the kids for us on Thanksgiving morning so Matt and I could participate in the 5k turkey trot the hotel was hosting! It was gorgeous out – cold and sunny – perfect for running!

anne and matt mauney

The course was really beautiful, too. It was all on the property and mostly on trails. I hadn’t run on trails in a long time and it’s so lovely!

But oh man those HILLS! We felt like the course was somehow 95% uphill… woof, not an easy 5k! Here was one of the brief slight downhill reprieves. 😉 I was definitely feeling the fact that most of the runs I do nowadays are flat!

trails on property at the salamander hotel

Gorgeous, huh? 

salamander hotel trails

It felt really good to get out there even with how challenging the course was with the hills. My watch only said 3 miles instead of 3.1, but, whatever! 

picture of a garmin watch with 3 miles

The Food!

The Salamander hotel has amazing food. For breakfast two of the mornings, I got their avocado toast, which was basically a work of art with pomegranate arils, pickled butternut squash sticks, cheese, and edible flowers! 

salamander hotel avocado toast

And one of the mornings I had the veggie omelette with cheddar – also very yummy. Omelettes feel like a fancy breakfast because I don’t usually have time to make them at home on the regular!

I was also a big fan of their green smoothies, and their bacon. 

veggie omelette with cheddar at salamander hotel

For lunch we kept things low key since Wes goes down for his nap at noon. We ordered room service one of the days (I had a simple salad), and the other day my mom hung out in our room for us while Wes napped and Riese watched a show so Matt and I could grab lunch on our own. 

This was a nice treat compared to the other meals which all involved wrangling Wes – my goodness he is a HANDFUL at restaurants at the moment. We had one dinner where he did super well but the rest of the meals all required one of the adults walking around the hotel with him while the others ate, then swapping out. 

The day Matt and I had lunch on our own was Thanksgiving – I had a caesar salad with shrimp. Yummy! And not too heavy since we were having our Thanksgiving buffet dinner at 4:30.

caesar salad with shrimp salamander hotel

We did presents in our room for Riese’s birthday before going to the buffet for an early Thanksgiving dinner. The buffet was INSANE y’all – so many options! We started with shrimp cocktail and oysters shared by everyone, then I moved on to a soup and salad course:

salad course from thanksgiving buffet at salamander hotel

And then the main event! The turkey was really good but I especially loved the bread with their house-made whipped honey butter – so good! 

main course from thanksgiving buffet at salamander hotel

For dessert, we asked if the staff could find us a birthday candle situation, and they did, along with a huge plate with basically one of everything from their dessert buffet! Thankfully Riese was willing to share. 😉 

I loved the mini pumpkin pies – I ended up going back for another one! 

birthday desserts from salamander hotel thanksgiving buffet

The other two nights of our trip we had dinner in their main fine dining restaurant, Harriman’s. It was dicey juggling Wes (and his current “destructo” mode – he tries to throw everything on the floor, including any china, cups, etc. within reach, oof) in a nice restaurant but we made it work and the food was amazing. 

I started with a salad and oysters the first night:

salad and oysters at harriman's restaurant salamander hotel

And then had the lobster plus some unpictured shared sides. 

lobster from harriman's inside the salamander

The second night I had the same starters, and then tried the filet steak. It was super delicious but I didn’t remember to get a photo! 

Romping Around the Property

As I mentioned before, one of the best things about this hotel is all the wide open SPACE! So great for kids. 

Wes also loved this enormous chess board, especially when someone was trying to actually play it (and he kept moving the pieces around while I attempted to put them all back right away after him…)

We had a really lovely sunset a couple of the nights! 

And we saw the sunrise a couple of the mornings too, from breakfast (early bird special… the kids did not sleep super well while we were there which was unfortunate for everyone involved):

Until next time, Salamander Hotel… thanks for the fun times! 

Source link: by Anne Mauney, MPH, RD at